The family outing.
Great in theory, but the truth is there are just not enough goldfish in the world for you to sneak through this one unscathed.
Help is here and it comes from Nathalie Prezeau, author of Toronto Fun Places – a guide book full of cool and interesting places to visit in TO. Nathalie knows ALL about the family outing because she’s taken her family to the 400+ (yes, 400+) places mentioned in her book, so she has it down to a science.
Here are some top tips from her (with a couple thrown in from our editors too).
- Don’t rely on food outlets: long line ups, outrageous prices (or simply a lack of them) are always a possibility. Pack a lunch and have some savvy snacks and drinks handy.
- Ditch the designer purse – the zoo is no place for glamour. A good old fashioned money belt provides easy access to snacks (like goldfish) for emergencies – while the knapsack can hold bigger items.
- At very popular attractions with line-ups (cringe), try to have snack time coincide with standing-around-going-crazy-time. Also remember old fashioned games like eye-spy and the alphabet game.
- Anywhere kids go is always more fun with friends their own age. Consider a ‘kid swap’ with another family so your kids can have some company on the outing.
- The recommended number of adults on an outing is one per each age group of children. Same-aged kids will stick together but they don’t necessarily stick with you so make sure they have someone to supervise them!
- The ‘time-to-fun-place:fun’ ratio is important too. Consider the amount of time it takes to get there. The longer the ride, the more you want to get out of the visit. The kids will get cranky if they’re in the car longer than they’re at the attraction.
- In case of inclement weather, don’t push it. If it’s rainy, too hot or too cold, consider an indoor activity. Luckily you didn’t get nominated for Supermom this year, so let it go and re-book for another time.
- Always pack a towel and a back up bathing suit as there is usually the unavoidable splash area. Suddenly the main attraction becomes a giant public sprinkler system – but the kids are hot and they love it. (With young children, be prepared to get wet yourself.)
- “Pack and prepare” the night before, leave early and arrive early to avoid line ups. (This one we follow religiously)
- When a child shows special interest in something specific, it’s a good time to plan an outing that is appropriate. So when Jack shows interest in rocket ships, go ahead and fly him to the moon. Just don’t forget the goldfish and make sure he can stay for a while ‘cause it might be a long trip.
For more information about Nathalie’s book and her recommendations in Toronto Fun Places, check out www.torontofunplaces.com
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